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Dismissal, jury verdict for Alcoa in cancer suit stand on appeal

August 6, 2013

A couple who sued an aluminum manufacturer and claimed their exposure to toxic chemicals led to the husband’s rare form of liver cancer lost their appeal Tuesday.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a dismissal of a workplace exposure claim and a Warrick Circuit Court jury’s verdict in favor of Alcoa in Billy L. Musgrave, Jr. and Kim A. Musgrave v. The Aluminum Company of America, Inc., and Alcoa Fuels, Inc., 87A04-1205-CT-276.

Bil Musgrave had worked in the Squaw Creek surface coal mine in Boonville during a period in the 1960s and 1970s when Alcoa dumped industrial waste from a nearby smelting plant on the Ohio River. The Musgraves sued in 2006, several years after Bil was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer affecting the bile ducts and liver. He ultimately received a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic.

Judge Edward Najam wrote for the court in a 26-page ruling that Alcoa was immune from the work-related claims under the Workers’ Compensation act, and therefore dismissal was proper pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(1).

“The trial court also properly instructed the jury on the statute of limitations, and the Musgraves did not preserve their argument that the jury instruction was not supported by the evidence for appellate review. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment and the jury’s verdict for Alcoa,” Najam wrote.


 

 
 

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